JEDDAH: Splashes of pink are appearing in Saudi Arabia’s public spaces to raise awareness about the importance of breast cancer screening.
A number of campaigns are underway this month to support this outreach — in malls, on the street and on billboards.
Pamphlets are being handed out, videos and interactive pictures are on display, there are fundraising activities such as hiking and biking, and medical students have been talking to shoppers and passers-by as part of efforts to increase people’s knowledge.
In Jeddah there was a Tai Chi class on the city’s waterfront, headed by Amatallah Bahaziq, that was attended by female members of Bliss Runners and Bolts. Another event was a bike ride organized by Jeddah Cyclists that included men and women.
A number of major cities across the Kingdom have also seen pop-up campaigns, with specialists ready to answer questions and play a proactive role in spreading proper knowledge and information about the disease, its detection and the chances of survival when detected early.
The Zahra Breast Cancer Association is one of Saudi Arabia’s leading organizations dedicated to raising awareness about the disease. It has been supporting cancer patients and survivors and normalizing conversations about breast cancer among the community, with a renewed emphasis during October which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
“Given the circumstances (due to the pandemic) we focused our efforts to raise awareness to the importance of early detection virtually,” a representative from the association told Arab News. “With billboards and visuals spread across Saudi cities, we’re still following through with our campaign promise to raise awareness each year and send the message across: Early detection will save your life.”
According to the Saudi Ministry of Health, 55 percent of cases are detected at a late stage. This late stage detection is mostly because some women believe that a lack of symptoms means an absence of the disease.